Fishing report, July 14-20: High Sierra lakes popular retreat from Valley heat – Fresno Bee


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Donny Caggianelli writes, “My kids (Brooklynn, 9, Ian, 5 and Rylee, 7) and I just got back from a five-day camping trip at Voyager Rock Campground at Courtright Reservoir for the Fourth of July weekend. All together we caught about 20 fish over the five days. They had a blast and now think their dad is an expert fisherman. (They’ll figure out I’m far from it later in life.) All were caught on chartreuse Power Bait and Gulp nightcrawlers.

Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State (he still holds the school record). George guides in the greater Fresno area and holds the striper record at Millerton Lake. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Photo gallery Show off your success! Share your fish photos and videos with Bee readers. Please share only jpeg images and Mp4 video files. Include “Fishing Report” in the subject line and a full caption and email to [email protected] Best bets Delta stripers and bass active, Randy Pringle reported. Don Pedro bass and kokanee action good, Monte Smith said. New Melones kicking out nice kokanee and bass, Ryan Cook reported. Shaver kokanee bite slows but still good, Dick Nichols said. Wishon and Courtright trout action cools off Valley anglers, Kelly Brewer reported. Roger’s Remarks: ‘Never give up’ can produce a big result Sometimes it’s the “little things” in fishing, as well as in life, that determine success. For example ... I was guiding two anglers at San Luis Reservoir on a late spring day. They told me that getting a bucket list lineside was the sole purpose for them that day. I explained that trying to dial up a big striper wasn’t easy, but that I would do my best. We began trolling and getting some nice school fish up to 4 pounds, but nothing bigger. One angler was doing something as he played his fish in that could spell trouble if he hooked a big striper. He would use what I call the “fighting a tuna” technique: pull the pole way up, then drop the tip way down, almost to the water, reeling furiously. This fighting tactic would give the fish short periods of slack line. The smaller lures and hooks we used could be dislodged pretty easily. Constant pressure with the pole up acting like a shock absorber was critical to staying hooked to big stripers. He was ready to try my suggested pole management, and he caught fish doing it correctly while I coached him. Couple hours later, we have a big fish on. I hand the pole to my guy, and the striper begins screaming the reel 60-70 yards before slowing. I was sure it was over 25 pounds. He’s doing well with the new technique and asks if he should put more pressure on the fish to begin working it in? “Yeah, might be a good idea,“ I say, just as he lowers the rod tip down in the tuna fishing style. The line goes slack. Monster gone! I’m sick, he’s sick, and he tells me he’s done and that he’s going home. I plead with him to just keep fishing, there’s another big one out there, but he is soured. I finally relent and drop them off at the dock. They’re done, but I’m not. I head back to the area, troll about 100 yards, hook a big striper, land it, take a picture, release it, then send the picture of the 20-pounder to them before they left the park. The picture caption said, “I’m sorry, but this should’ve been your fish!” Having a small but key lapse in technique, then letting disappointment cloud his feelings cost this angler two big lifetime stripers. Never give up! Valley West-side waterways Striper 2 Catfish 2 Triple-digit temperatures in the Valley have made the shadeless California Aqueduct a less than desirable location for fishermen this week, but those getting out early in the mornings or at night are finding decent action for striped bass with Magnum Flukes or 4.8-inch Keitech swimbaits on a ½- to 3/4-ounce jig head are working along with big jerkbaits along with deep-diving crankbaits. Catfish are also taken on chicken livers, cut baits, or minnows. In the southern aqueduct in Kern County, the best action for school size stripers has been topwater lures or Magnum flukes in the early mornings or evenings along with with cut baits, blood worms, or large minnows along with flukes or topwater lures. Catfish are biting chicken livers, live minnows, or cut baits. The aqueduct is running fast with the heavy water releases out of San Luis Reservoir, and anglers have to use caution along the edge of the water conveyance system. Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield (661) 833-8657 Eastman Lake Bass 2 Trout 1 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Blue-green algae has encompassed the shallow lake with Eastman dropping to 7%. Few anglers are heading to either Eastman or Hensley. Catfishing is the only show in town with cut baits or chicken livers at night from the banks near the launch ramps. Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255 Hensley Lake Bass 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 1 Blue-green algae has encompassed the shallow lake with Hensley dropping to 14%. Few anglers are heading to either Eastman or Hensley. Catfishing is the only show in town with cut baits or chicken livers at night from the banks near the launch ramps. Call: Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151 Lake Don Pedro Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2 Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The kokanee are finally starting to school up as they have been scattered for the past month. I was out in open water on Friday and wasn’t marking anything so we made a move. We made another move about 75 yards away, and the screen lit up as we found around 15 kokanee in a grouping. We went another 50 yards, and there was another group of them. The kokanee are fat, healthy fish with some just a hair under 2 pounds. There are some marks deeper than 70 feet, but our best action has been around 60 feet with J-Pex or Pro Troll’s Kokanee Killers behind a Mack’s Sling Blade. We tried hoochies, but they weren’t effective. It is really important to be on the water by 5: 30 a.m. in order to find the early bite.” Kokanee fishermen are requested to diligently complete the kokanee/king salmon survey every trip at For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “There is a good topwater bite for bass in the mornings or late afternoons in the upper lake and off of main lake points with the Berkley Choppo 130 before working the long, flat main lake points at depths from 15 to 25 feet with plastics in browns or greenpumpkin on a drop-shot or Neko rig along with 3.5-inch Dry Creek tubes. 4.5-inch RoboWorms in Hologram Shad are another option. Cutting the skirt down on a ½-ounce G Money Jig is a good producer, and there are also some larger fish taken on ¾-ounce jigs with a Yamamoto Cowboy trailer.” The lake dropped to 60%, and a buoy line has been installed outside of Fleming Meadows with the intent of moving the houseboats into deeper water. Call: Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing (209) 581-4734; Kyle Wise – Head Hunter Guide Service – (209) 531- 3966; Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing - 691-7008 Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2 There were some huge largemouth bass landed within the past week, and bass fishing remains strong with deep-diving crankbaits in the 10- to 20-foot range along with an early or late topwater bite. Large 10-inch worms or big jigs are also effective. Trollers are picking up the occasional holdover rainbow along with crappie as the slabs have moved out into open water. Catfish are a good bet with Triple S Dip Bait in Blood Formula along with frozen shad. Information on the annual Lake Isabella Kern Valley Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is available at The virtual derby will run through Sept. 6. The French Gulch Marina is only launch ramp with the low lake level, dropping slightly to 12%. With the heat, few anglers are heading to Buena Vista, but there is a solid carp bite with dough bait along with the occasional bass taken on reaction baits in the morning before working the bottom with plastics on a slow presentation. Catfishing has been slow although a catfish plant is scheduled. The upper Kern River remains fishable with fly fishermen finding the best action in the higher elevations above Kernville while those working live crickets. Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or salmon eggs fished with as light a weight as possible are finding action in the deeper pools near Kernville. The lower Kern River is kicking out catfish, bass, and even holdover rainbow trout with the bass on Senkos, jigs, or plastics with catfish on cut baits or dip baits. Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812; Golden Trout Pack Station 542-2816 Lake Kaweah Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 The lake dropped from 27% to 23% as water releases continue, and there are unmarked hazards throughout the shallow lake. The bass have moved out into open water, holding on the available structure. There is a window for topwater in the early mornings before finesse techniques with Senkos or plastic work best. Recreational boating continues to be heavy despite low lake levels. Lake Success Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 Recreational boating continues to be heavy with the triple-digit temperatures plaguing the Central Valley, and the lake dropped slightly to 19%. The bass bite remains tough with the hot water, and the best action is found with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig early or late. Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, McClure Reservoir Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Abundant small bass are the rule with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs or Senkos in the river arm at depths to 30 feet. McClure remains a good location to practice your finesse techniques for numbers of spotted and the occasional largemouth bass, but with the triple-digit temperatures at this elevation, you have to get on the lake early and get off early. Boat traffic remains very heavy, particularly on the weekends. Bagby, Horseshoe Bend, and McClure Point North launch ramps are closed due to water levels. The lake dropped from 38% to 36%. Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Guide Service - 691-7008 McSwain Reservoir Trout 3 After 1,800 pounds of rainbow trout were planted at the end of June, bank fishing improved in the early morning and late afternoons. Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters are working best from the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or peninsula near the Marina in the early mornings while trollers are working blade/’crawler combinations, Wedding Rings, or Rapalas up the river arm. The rainbows have migrated into the river arm in search of cooler water. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534 Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River Bass 2 Striped Bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 1 Aaron Loucks of the Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Water releases have dropped the reservoir level from 46% to 44%, and water is running fast down the San Joaquin River, creating unsafe conditions for shore fishermen at the Broken Bridge. Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake which is experiencing heavy recreational boating pressure. A few anglers are still scoring with spinnerbaits, jigs, or topwater lures such as Whopper Ploppers or Spooks.” Sycamore Island will be open Fridays through Sundays and State holidays through November 11. Seasonal hours of operation are 6: 00 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. January, February, March, October, and November; 6: 00 am to 7: 00 pm April and September, and 6: 00 a.m. to 8: 30 p.m. May through August. Entry fees are $9.00 per vehicle and $5.00 per trailer. Annual passes are available for $85. Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474 New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 Heavy fishing pressure is anticipated at New Melones this week with the arrival of the Kokanee Power Team Tournament on Saturday, July 17. Heavy boat pressure during the previous week before the tournament at Don Pedro was one factor in a less-than-anticipated kokanee showing, and we will see if this pattern continues due to the tremendous popularity of kokanee fishing. Kyle Wise of HeadHunter Guide Service continues to find limits of kokanee to 16 inches running Apex or J-Pex lures behind a 5.5-inch gold Mag Tackle Stealth or Paulina Peak’s hammered dodger at 55 to 65 feet in the main lake off of points. He said, “The fish are starting to drop in the water column, and there are some big fish out there as we weighed a kokanee at 2.5 pounds this week. The lake is dropping around a foot every two to three days, and there are a number of unmarked hazards throughout the lake. Anglers are requested to complete the kokanee survey at upon the completion of every trip to provide accurate information to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “Bass fishing remains excellent for numbers in the upper part of the lake with topwater lures, flukes, tubes, or plastics on the drop-shot. Quality largemouth and spotted bass are found from the main lake south with bluegill patterned buzzbaits or the Berkley Choppo 130.” The River Rat held a night tournament on Friday night for the first permitted bass tournament this year, and the winning limit was over 22 pounds. The lake dropped from 50% to 48%, and there are numerous unmarked hazards throughout the lake. Boaters have to be extremely cautious. There was another drowning on the lake over the weekend. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; John Liechty Xperience Fishing Guide Service (209) 743-9932 Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The lake is releasing water at a rapid clip, dropping from 28% to 26%, creating dangerous conditions for shore fishermen on the lower Kings due to swift water. Recreational boating remains high, and few anglers are targeting the lake with some action for bass near Trimmer or Deer Creek with plastics on the drop-shot.” In the lower Kings River, trout plants are scheduled for the week of July 18, but anglers have to be very cautious with the high flows. The harvest zone is between the dam and Alta (Cobbles) Weir, and between Alta Weir and Highway 180 is a catch-and-release zone with a zero limit. The river is running at 345 cfs near Trimmer. Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626 San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1 San Luis Reservoir has been extremely quiet on the fishing front for the past few months due to the combination of high winds limiting boat access, rapidly receding water levels, a burgeoning algae bloom, and waves of triple-digit temperatures. Most Central Valley and South Bay striper fishermen have been heading to the California Aqueduct in the early mornings or evenings as an alternative to the big lake, but there are still some big fish available for catch-and-release in the main San Luis Reservoir. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service is the only authorized fishing guide on the main lake, and he said, “The fish are reacting to the water dropping by moving out deeper as well as suspending in the water column. The extreme heat is also having an effect on the fish as the water temperatures continue to rise into the low 70s. Trollers are having a tough time finding active schools in the algae-infested water, but experienced anglers are still scratching out limits. Schools of fish are moving around quickly, and there is still some milting by the males. Shore anglers are picking up a few schoolies off of the launch ramp areas at Dinosaur Point or the Basalt Recreational Area. I guided Dave Drinnon of Fresno on Thursday, and he caught and released a 11.5-pound lineside early before following up with a personal-best 43-inch/25.2-pound striped bass working at 70 feet in the main lake with silver shad-patterned lures (released). We fished from 9 a.m. to 7: 30 p.m. in the 100-plus degree heat for a slow overall bite while searching for the one big hit. The Dinosaur Point launch dock area is getting shallow, and the Basalt dock is better now, but it needs to be moved a lot as the water falls. Islands are popping up all over the lake and anglers need to be careful.” Jake Wiesz of Coyote Bait and Tackle confirmed the slower than normal bite at the big lake with limited action for trollers working deep water near the Trash Racks with umbrella rigs or broken-backed Rebels. In the O’Neill Forebay, numbers of small striped bass are abundant with topwater lures or jerkbaits in the early mornings or evenings along with pile worms or anchovies. Catfish are biting chicken livers. In the O’Neill Forebay, water is being pumped out of reservoir into the California Aqueduct, but with the hot temperatures, thick grass has formed along the shorelines. Small striped bass remain the rule with pile worms, anchovies, or sardines. Fishermen continue to cull through many shakers for a legal limit. At San Luis, there are three wind warning and lake closure lights near the Basalt Entrance Station, Quien Sabe Point, and the Romero Visitor Center. At the O’Neill Forebay, the lights are located near the old Medeiros boat ramp and above the South Beach Area. Amber lights signify caution conditions for winds or other concerns while red lights indicate the lake is closed to boating and all vessels must immediately vacate the lake. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of 905-2954 High Sierra Bass Lake Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 Boat traffic remains extremely heavy throughout the week and particularly on weekends. Interest in fishing has diminished with the heavy boat traffic affecting the lake. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee remains in effect. The lake dropped slightly. Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool The road to Edison and Florence is open, but Edison is very low at 19% with Florence at 60%. Mammoth Pool dropped to 81%. Trout plants are scheduled at Ward Lake and Portal Forebay this week. Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000 Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake Kokanee 3 Trout 2 Heavy boat pressure is occurring over the weekends at Shaver Lake, leaving some guides to avoid weekends for the remainder of the summer. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters continues to guide on the weekends, but he prefers the quieter conditions during the week. He said, “Jeff Sturges said it best, ‘Shaver improved this week.’ Sturges from Fresno and his granddaughter fished Thursday morning and jumped onto the kokanee with his personal-best at 17 inches. It was much better midweek than the week before, but there was a slowdown on Friday. Most likely the kokanee are reacting to the extreme hot weather with surface water at 75 degrees and the water level receding a couple feet on the banks. Thursday was the most productive day of the week. Twins Stella and Mai Andrews, both third-graders in Fresno, picked up nearly three limits of kokes to 17.3 inches, while fishing with mom Rheanna and grandpa Ed Desnoyers, also of Fresno. The girls did not lose one fish and landed 10 in 1.5 hours. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s trips were productive but not like Thursday. We continue to have the best success with orange Dick’s Koke Busters or orange spinner Mountain Hoochies behind Mountain Dodgers. But the big surprise was the new Dick’s Mountain Tubes in orange. The fish jumped onto them especially on Thursday, but Friday was another day as soft hits resulted in fewer fish. 45 feet deep near the Point was our median depth, but I expect them to drop down in water column as the water continues to warm. Trout are scarce in the middle of the lake, but a limit or two is possible back near both Stevenson Creeks. The lake dropped from 77% to 75%. Anglers are requested to complete the kokanee survey at upon the completion of every trip to provide accurate information to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. At Huntington, a trout plant is scheduled for this week, and holdover rainbows and brown trout to 16 inches have been taken from the banks near the mouth of Rancheria Creek with spinners along with Power Bait in fluorescent orange or rainbow with garlic is also working for the planters. The lake is at 98 percent, and the docks are in the water at the launch ramp. The High Sierra Regatta will take over the lake during the weekends of July 10-11 and 17-18. Call: Dick Nichols – Dick’s Fishing Charters at Shaver Lake Sports 841-2740; Todd Wittwer – Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435 Wishon/Courtright Trout 3 Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “The daytime temperatures are in the mid- to high 80s, and anglers have been flocking out of the triple-digit temperatures in the Valley to fish these high-elevation lakes. Recent plants have spurred on the action with Power Bait or nightcrawlers from the shorelines while trollers are scoring the planters with blade/’crawler combinations, Thomas Buoyants, Speedy Shiners, or Rapalas at depths to 30 feet. The water levels fluctuate due to power demand, and the launch ramps could be in or out of the water, requiring boaters to launch off of the dirt shorelines. There will be no docks installed at Wishon in the low water.” Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361 Ocean Half Moon Bay Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 2 There are great conditions for salmon north of Half Moon Bay, and six-packs have been able to pull together limits trolling from Devil’s Slide to Pedro Point. The action has improved to the point where the larger party boats are able to stay closer to home instead of making the long run to the Channel Buoys above the Golden Gate. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete has been focusing north of the harbor, and the scores have been up or down primarily depending upon the weather. It was rough on Sunday, and all of the party boats struggled with Baxter returning with 6 salmon to 21 pounds with first-time angler, Lauren Carter of Santa Clara, scoring a limit along with the big fish of the day. Deckhand Braden Baxter said, “We ended up with six, but we missed a bunch as the rough weather was unexpected. We were trolling between Mussel Rock and the Channel Buoys.” The Riptide and the Queen of Hearts also struggled on Saturday with a combined 14 salmon to 18 pounds for 25 anglers. Captain Baxter trolled from Mussel Rock to the Pacifica Pier on Thursday for 18 salmon for 10 anglers. He said, “The area from Devil’s Slide north is loaded with anchovies with all of the sign for salmon there, but there weren’t many fish at Pedro Point. There are still a few squid boats there, and an occasional white sea bass ended up in a squid boat net. Everyone is trying for the ghosts, but the numbers aren’t there.” Also prior to the weekend, the Huli Cat was off of Pacifica in shallow water at 60 feet for 12 salmon to 8 pounds for 13 anglers with a number of shakers along with scratched bait. Captain Tom Mattusch also reported lots of bait, birds, and feeding whales in the area. The Huli Cat went rockfishing on Sunday in 150 feet of water off of San Gregorio, and they posted 7 limits for 7 anglers along with a 12-pound ling cod taken on a shrimp fly by Cindy Sharorno from Yelm, Washington. Earlier, the Ankeny Street went rockfishing for 10 limits of rockfish including 6 cabezon, 6 lings to 16 pounds, and one bonus halibut at 18 pounds. The Queen of Hearts was also rockfishing for 11 limits of rockfish and a single ling cod. The Dungeness crab season ended on June 30, but anglers can keep rock crab from the Pacifica Pier or the Half Moon Bay jetty with snares nares loaded with squid, anchovies, or sardines. Call: Captain Dennis Baxter – New Captain Pete (650) 576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch – Huli Cat (650) 619-0459 Monterey/Santa Cruz Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Halibut 3 Surf perch 3 Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surf Casting Guide Service reported, “Finally, the weather conditions are settling in to what we consider a more “normal” summertime pattern. We’re getting a slight breeze offshore around sunrise that dies down for a few hours of calm and glassy seas before picking up again from the west or northwest. How hard it blows after that determines how long we can stay out fishing. We had a few days this week that were nice until noon or later. The weekend forecast looks even better with maximum winds expected to be no more than ten knots or so, over an almost negligible swell. Halibut fishing remains strong on Monterey Bay. On Thursday, kayak fisherman Aaron Treadway won the battle with his biggest flatty ever. Fishing just outside the Santa Cruz Harbor, Treadway recounted, “Halibut are biting from 30 feet of water out to 70 feet, and any flat sandy area of the bay could produce.” For a guaranteed catch, rockfishing is the best bet right now. Private boats and charter operations are hauling in limits from the medium and deeper reefs. The shallow reefs should produce as the annoying south swell continues to slowly die out. Six-pack charter Go Fish Santa Cruz has been working the north coast spots lately near Davenport. The fish are bigger there, and limits are quicker. Skipper JT Thomas reported Monday and Tuesday’s trips caught limits of a great variety of rockfish including vermillion, browns, blues, yellowtail, blacks, and coppers. Monday’s trip also netted a nice petrale sole from that area. On Wednesday, the beautiful Miss Beth fished for halibut near Capitola and caught three nice flatties, releasing one silver salmon. Thomas reported, Stagnaro’s Sportfishing operates two bigger boats from the Santa Cruz Harbor, and often does multiple trips per day. Owner Ken Stagnaro gave his overview for the week saying, “The Velocity was coming home with half to 3/4 limits with a few ling cod starting to show up. Over the weekend, anglers on the Legacy caught limits of rockfish on seven-hour trips and 3/4 limits on the afternoon twilight trips. On Tuesday they caught early limits of rockfish for 8 anglers aboard.” Kris Victorino, skipper for Kahuna Sportfishing in Moss Landing, finally got an opportunity to head the boat towards Big Sur. The trip is long, but the fishing is fast. Victorino was happy to report, “We got limits for 19 at Big Sur on Saturday along with twelve lings to 15 pounds. Sunday saw limits for 13 at Big Sur with lots of vermilion and coppers, plus 11 lings to 10 pounds and a bonus 15-pound halibut.” In Monterey, Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching reported limits of rockfish for every trip this week aboard the Check Mate and the Caroline. Arcoleo, aka ‘the Godfather of Sole,’ commented on this week’s action saying, “Salmon has been kinda slow for us with a couple here and a couple there. We caught two giants on the rock cod boat this week at forty pounds or more, but we had to throw them back because of the gear. We fished quite a bit at Sur this week, and it’s been good catching lotsa vermillion, lotsa yellows, and a few lings down there.” We received private reports of Calico bass caught near Cannery Row in Monterey this week. When asked if he was aware of any other “exotics” in the area, Arcoleo said “no,” and then added “I’m just wondering where the bluefin are.” With water temps rising in Monterey Bay and apparently plentiful amounts of bait, we shouldn’t be surprised if tuna fever hits NorCal soon.” Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Allen Bushnell – Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting (831) 251-9732 San Francisco Bay Salmon 3 Halibut 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Salmon fishing has been incredible one day, followed by a more challenging bite the following day, but the fish are there, and the biggest factor has been the weather conditions. Party boats heading out on Sunday found rough water conditions after experiencing good conditions with big fish on Saturday. Holding onto the salmon continues to be a challenge as many of the big fish are coming unbuttoned in the midst of the battle. With the great salmon action most days, party boats are already booking up into August, but there is an additional alternative with the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley, normally a potluck boat, running salmon trips during the weekdays. On Sunday, Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley was one of the top salmon boats with 5 limits to 14 pounds. Mitchell started off at the Channel Buoys for a few salmon before running south below the Golden Gate towards Mussel Rock. He said, “Once I found the fish in the morning and called in a few boats, the fleet arrived so I went to find another batch of fish. It has been from day-to-day as the opportunities for limits are there on nearly every trip, but it is a matter of being able to hold onto the big ones. We came in with a fish per rod on Saturday after losing several big ones during the fight. These are big fish, and they will expose any weakness due to lack of experience in bringing them to the net. It’s really hard to land a big fish when the ocean is rough, and that is another factor on losing fish.” Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina had a spectacular day on Saturday with 6 limits of salmon to 31 pounds with a number of fish over 20 pounds. He said, “We were able to stick our fish on Saturday, but Sunday was a different story with 5 salmon for six anglers in very rough ocean conditions. I have been trolling, and although I prefer to mooch, we need a week or so of flat ocean conditions for the salmon to school up enough to drift for them.” On Thursday, there was a salmon bite off of the Towers in clear, green water, leaving one captain to remark, ‘Who would have thought we would have had our best day in these types of conditions?’ Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady was one of the boats that found out about the action later in the morning, and they scratched out two fish shy of limits with a few over 30 pounds along with plenty of opportunities to put in limits. These are big fish, and many are being lost during the fight. Davis plans on heading to the same spot today although the salmon might not be there since there isn’t anything to hold them.” Mitchell was also at the Towers on Thursday for 4 limits of big fish to 26 pounds. The Pacific Dream went rockfishing on Saturday up the Marin coastline for limits of rockfish along with 12 ling cod and two bonus halibut. The end of July and the first week of August are prime time for halibut showing up along the Marin County beaches. Weather conditions outside the Golden Gate kept most boats inside of the bays during the middle of the week, and halibut and shark picked up most of the slack while striped bass remain surprisingly absent. The waters of the bay have cleared, but the action overall has been slow with the exception of leopard shark fishing. Most boats had to stay inside the bay until Thursday as the weather outside was rough. Captain Steve Mitchell took out Donoven Owen of Sonora, the young man who requires daily care for a debilitating health condition. Owen had previously limited out on sturgeon with Mitchell after having to wait an extra day due to the weather. Staying inside the bay, Owen was able to reel in five legal halibut to 12 pounds off of Angel Island and Alcatraz. Mitchell knew that the bite was better outside the Gate at the South Bar, but he didn’t want to subject Donoven to those conditions. Mitchell had a salmon charter the previous day, but with the weather conditions, they opted for leopard shark with plenty of action for all on board. It’s nice to have options inside the bay when the weather conditions are less than ideal. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of San Francisco said, “The shark fishing is just plain off the hook. We are creating sore backs and arms as the size of the sharks has been very large at of the largest that I have seen in a while. “ Ed Chin of Bay Tackle in El Cerrito is confounded by the absence of striped bass along the shorelines, saying, “It is dead everywhere including the Marin side of the bay. I don’t understand since the bay should be loaded with stripers right now. I am dumbfounded as I haven’t seen a season like this in 40 years. It has been a week since we have caught any fish, and they are all from 16 to 20 inches. The water is clear so that isn’t the problem.” Captain Chris Smith of the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley was in the bay on Sunday with a group that opted not to head outside in rough ocean conditions. He reported slow overall action for halibut, and there have been few striped bass on the central bay rockpiles. He said, “We went south on Saturday outside the Gate towards Mussel Rock, and the area is loaded with bait. Some of our biggest striped bass of the season have come from outside the Gate on the North or South Bars.” Smith is starting to run salmon trolling trips during the week. With the supply of six-pack boats growing exponentially in both San Francisco Bay and in the Delta, you are advised to book with a registered, bonded, and insured captain for safety as well as a quality trip. Call: Captain Trent Slate Bite Me Charters (415) 307-8582; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736; Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388 San Luis Obispo Rockfish 3 Salmon 2 Surf perch 3 The pattern is clear out of the San Luis Obispo County party boats as the best quality rockfish and higher ling cod counts are found on the 12-hour long-range trips out of all of the ports. The Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing returned with 22 limits of rockfish and 2 ling cod on Sunday as their three boats combined for 243 vermilion, 55 copper, 50 Boccaccio, 467 assorted rockfish along with the two lings for 100 anglers. Derik Gomez of Bakersfield took the jackpot with a 10-pound ling cod at Ragged Point. Also out of Morro Bay, the Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing put in 25 limits and 7 ling cod on Sunday as part of 193 vermilion, 326 assorted, 45 copper, 79 Boccaccio, 25 canary and 8 ling cod for the 73 passengers on the Fiesta, Rita G, and Black Pearl. The Patriot, Phenix, and the Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis were out on Sunday with 58 fishermen for 80 vermilion, 5 copper, 3 Boccaccio, 157 Bolina, 330 assorted rockfish, two ocean whitefish, 4 treefish, and canary rockfish, and 8 ling cod to 9 pounds for limits of rockfish. The new sub-limit is 5 vermilions as part of a 10-rockfish limit this season. Call: Virg’s Landing (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Morro Bay Landing Others Delta/Stockton Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 3 Triple-digit temperatures plagued the Sacramento-Delta over the weekend as the second major heat wave of the summer struck hard in the Central Valley. The river salmon season will open this Friday, July 16th, but most anglers are less than enthusiastic for the season opener as the water is warmer than normal. High winds in response to the temperature differential between the coast and the valley are also a challenge as it has been difficult to anchor in the main river. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, found striped bass in the 4/5-pound range working along the West Bank from the Power Lines to Collinsville while targeting largemouth bass with crankbaits or swimbaits. He found an excellent largemouth bite for fish to 3 pounds with over 70 fish caught and released on the ima Finesse Popper or the 4-inch Berkley General with an offset 2/0 Diachi hook. The bass are working the shallows feeding on baby bass, bluegill, and squawfish, and the 4-inch bait mimics the size of the bait fish. Natural colors of green pumpkin or bluegill are working best. The ima Rock N’ Vibe Suspend is another option to toss above the weed lines, and when used with monofilament, it will hold above the weed line, making it a great lure for an experienced as well as novice fishermen.” In the north Delta, Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, reported an excellent bite for striped bass inside of Liberty Island by running red LV 500 lipless crankbaits over the grass on a speed retrieve. He said, “It is a matter of reeling as fast as you can as the stripers must be keying in on the rattles as the water is dirty at chocolate brown. Denise Loo was out again with us, and she couldn’t believe that the stripers could chase down a lure brought in this fast, but she hooked up on doubles four times with us. The stripers are feeding heavily on crawdads, and they have the crayfish in their bellies which explains the red color being effective. We were hooking stripers left and right, ending with a total of 12 keepers. We also found a good largemouth bass bite with Senkos or with red Z-Man’s Jackhammer chatterbaits.” Clara Ricabal, Western Outdoor News columnist, was out with Rick Tietz of Blade Runner Spoons out of Arrowhead Marina, and she picked up a limit of school-sized stripers working the spoons in the north Delta sloughs. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “Everyone wants tray bait for ocean salmon as few anglers have been fishing the Delta. The river salmon season opens this Friday, July 16th, but there isn’t much interest this season as the bite has been slow the past few years. Normally, the shorelines at 1st Street and the Dillon Point State Park would be packed shoulder-to-shoulder on the opening day. Let’s see if this happens. There was a 22-pound striped bass reported off of 1st Street, but overall, fishing is slow as it has been really windy.” Sturgeon fishermen remain absent for the most part, but there are still diamondbacks to be had, and the protected waters of Montezuma Slough have been the best location with salmon roe, grass shrimp, or eel. There are two large frog tournaments on the near horizon in the San Joaquin-Delta, and the triple-digit temperatures are just what was ordered to make the tournaments a success as the frog bite is just now starting to heat up. Of course, the heat is far less comfortable for both the fish and the fishermen, and extra care is necessary when participating in a bass tournament. Striped bass are making a surprising showing for trollers in the San Joaquin, and trollers are trickling back into the main river from the Antioch Bridge up to Prisoner’s Point. The striped bass have made a resurgence in the Delta as Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was back on the water on Thursday for 3 keeper stripers shallow-trolling. He said, “There are a few fish around, and it is a matter of getting on and off the water early since the heat takes over.” Craig Newton of Will Fish Bait and Tackle in Auburn said, “Ron Retzlaff of Orangevale was back out this week, and he had a total of 3 keepers and 6 undersized stripers working the San Joaquin and into Broad Slough with deep-diving Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows.” For largemouth bass, Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors held a tournament on Saturday out of Holland Riverside Marina in the south Delta, and he said, “It was a frog and buzz bait bite with a few fish on red chatterbaits, and we didn’t lose a fish during the weigh in as the key is being very prepared and getting the fish back in the water quickly.” His next tournament is August 14th out of Holland Riverside Marina. A 60-boat tournament was held out of Ladd’s Marina in Stockton on Saturday with the average weight at 10.33 pounds with a winning weight at 23.62 pounds with four limits over 20 pounds. Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors reported a good punch bite with Sweet Beavers and Double Wide Beavers in the mats, and he weighed n 15 pounds during the Ladd’s Wednesday Night Shootout despite losing an estimated 8-pound largemouth at the boat while punching. He said, “If my partner was there, we would have had that fish in the net, but I tried to bounce it into the boat without the desired results. There are a number of 2- to 3-pound bass out there with plenty of 4 to 8 pounders. The frog bite is decent, but it will improve in the coming weeks. There were government workers taking water samples near Ladd’s this week, and they were working from the Port of Stockton to the mouth of the Mokelumne River. The oxygen level was only at 6 parts per million when it should be much higher than this. This might be a reason why the bass are so lethargic right now. Another concern was the presence of blue-green algae throughout every area tested.” In the south Delta, fishing is very slow below Mossdale on the San with catfish behind the top species with mackerel, anchovies, or nightcrawlers from Dos Reis Park to Mossdale. Most of the striped bass are undersized. A temporary emergency drought barrier has been placed in False River to slow the movement of saltwater into the central Delta and prevent the contamination of water supplies. The work began in early June, and the temporary barrier will be removed by November 30, 2021. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing – (707) 655-6736; Chris Ditter – HeadRush Sport Fishing – (916) 284-9236; Vince Borges – Vince Borges Outdoors (209) 918-0828 Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez Bass 2 White bass 2 Striper 0 Catfish 3 Crappie 2 Bluegill 3 Trout 2 At Nacimiento, the lake has dropped to 19 percent, and there are unmarked hazards throughout the lake including a number of sand bars. Caution is advised while boating. Recreational boating continues to be high with the triple-digit temperatures in the region. There is still a small window for getting on the lake to fish in the early mornings or evenings with the typical summer time bite of topwater early before heading to the bottom with plastics. White bass have been scarce, but trollers are picking up a few with small white spoons or spinners. The schools are popping up in random locations. A webcam of the lake is available at At Lopez, the lake continues to drop close to a foot every seven days, and the launch ramp will most likely be accessible within the month. Bass fishing is fair with an early topwater bite before moving to the bottom with plastics on a drop-shot, Ned-rig, Senkos, or jigs. The best time for topwater is before the sun hits the water or in the late afternoon at dusk. Bluegill and red ear perch are taken on red worms, meal worms, or mini-crawlers. A webcam of the lake is available at At Santa Margarita, the bass bite is fair, but with the hot temperatures, the shoreline areas are getting full of weeds. Topwater action is decent in the mornings with buzzbaits, Spooks, or Whopper Ploppers before working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, or Z-Man’s Jackhammer chatterbaits. The bluegill and red ear perch have oriented to ledges and shelves as the water temperature continues to rise. At San Antonio, the lake is very low as the lake has dropped to 9 percent. The ramp opens at 1: 00 p.m. on Fridays, but it is open at 6: 00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Even with the low water levels, catfishing has been good with Triple S Dip Bait along with mackerel, sardines, or anchovies. Carp are taken in the shallows with dough baits while there are some crappie holding on structure with minijigs. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Events Tournament results New Melones – River Rat (No last names provided by tournament directors)- July 9: 1st ––Alex/Jeff – 22.62 pounds; 2nd – Jeremiah/Andrew – 18.08 (Big Fish – 9.09); 3rd –Brian/Collin – 12.94. Delta/New Holland Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors – July 10: 1st –Joey Skym/Gary Mullins – 16.85 pounds; 2nd – Rick Dagaetano/Ed Ackerman – 14.10; 3rd – Jon Rodgers/Bryan Lutz – 13.95. Delta/Ladd’s Marina – July 10: 1st –– Rodney and Xavier Green – 23.62 pounds (Big Fish – 6.93); 2nd – Mike Saso/Larry Vignolo – 22.44; 3rd – Drew Zanotto/Hunter Kidder – 20.93. Upcoming tournaments (subject to change) July 17 Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Club Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Nor Cal Bass New Melones – Kokanee Power Team Tournament New Melones – Riverbank Bass Anglers McClure – Gold Country Bass Tour Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club Success – Xtreme Bass Club Isabella – Golden Empire Bass Club July 23/24 Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournament July 24 Tulloch – 17/90 Bass Club McClure – Yak-A-Bass Isabella – Fresno Bass Club Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers July 25 McClure – Nor Call High School Bass July 31/August 1 Delta/Russo’s Marina – Angler’s Press Ultimate Frog Challenge August 7/8 Delta/Russo’s Marina – Snag Proof Open Solunar tableAMPMMinorMajorMinorMajorWednesday9: 263: 149: 493: 38Thursday10: 184: 0610: 414: 29Friday11: 084: 5611: 315: 20q-Saturday11: 575: 45—6: 09Sunday12: 206: 3312: 466: 59Monday1: 087: 221: 367: 50Tuesday1: 588: 132: 288: 43q = quarter moon
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